The role of goat herder was coveted by over 100 candidates.
Melissa Jeuken was the successful applicant for the role of goat herder. Her job is to tend the Old Irish Goats who have been deployed for an important conservation project. She is managing the herd in Howth while the goats are in the heathlands to reduce gorse cover. According to Jeuken gorse contains a lot of natural oils and is therefore flammable and a safety hazard. RTÉ News reports that, "gorse fires in Howth burned an area of approximately 65 acres over several weeks" earlier this year. If the goats clear away the gorse, it goes a long way to conserve the area.
Meet the goat herder of Howth Head in Co Dublin 🐐🐐🐐
Melissa Jeuken started a new job today, tending to 25 Old Irish Goats which have been deployed in a groundbreaking conservation project.
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Read more: https://t.co/7UsYixSMB2 pic.twitter.com/lEtbM4IAOo
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) September 8, 2021
The project is a collaboration between the Fingal County Council and the Mayo Old Irish Goat Society. While this is an effort to conserve the land, it's also an effort to protect the goats, as they are the last native goat to Ireland. These indigenous animals are on the verge of extinction, and the project hopes to prevent that.
The chairman of the society Pádraic Browne told RTÉ News: "We were losing them at one stage. But thanks to volunteers in Mayo we have successfully managed to protect and preserve these goats."
Jeuken echoed this sentiment and said that deploying the goats in this way is a great solution as "they can thrive" in their new environment. She told RTÉ, "they're in their natural environment and hopefully with the breeding programme, their numbers will further increase."
We sure hope so and wish Jeuken, and the goats the very best in this conservation project.
Header image via Instagram/oldirishgoatsociety